THE UNSEEN

Posted: June 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

Sometimes I feel that life in Haiti is like living in a Frank Peretti novel.  It seems that there is an entrenched force that is  resistant to change that will improve the quality of the lives of millions, and even further, that this force is aggressively purposeful in trying to discourage and thwart those that are working to make a difference here in Haiti.

Jesus in John 10:10 NLT, speaking of Satan,  says

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

I repeatedly hear aid workers, many whom have worked in some of the most poorest and most unstable countries in the world, say,

Haiti is the most difficult and frustrating country I have ever worked in.

This past week I was speaking to an aid workers who has been here for some time.  He is discouraged and will be leaving Haiti in soon.  I have heard words similar to his many times, “We try to help but so many roadblocks are set in our way. The government makes it almost impossible for us to do our jobs. We are tired of being asked to pay bribes, so we can get our supplies out of customs.  Why are the simplest things so difficult?  I’m tired.”

I think of the words of Paul in Ephesians 6:12 NLT

 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

It is the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  The seen: abject poverty, dire living conditions, governmental corruption, injustice, people dying from treatable illnesses, lack of education, and more are the result of the unseen. Haiti is a country that each year receives hundreds of millions of dollars in financial aid from other countries and hundreds of millions of dollars through the work of churches and believers from other countries and yet why does it seem that so little changes.

Perhaps you are thinking that I am being negative, but I don’t think so.  If the seen is controlled by the unseen, then the real answer is not in money or food or education or jobs or development alone.  These are good things but the unseen can’t be changed by the seen and so we come back to Paul’s words.  Let’s look at Ephesians 6:12 in the Amplified version:

For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

These are strong words but we in Haiti face strongholds that don’t respond to sacks of rice and beans or piles of money or good intentions.

Let’s read more of what Paul has to say in Ephesians 6: 10-18

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

I am not suggesting or saying that humanitarian aid is not a good thing, but I am saying that it will not change hearts.  I am not saying that houses and school and clinics built by churches and Christians is not a  good thing, but I am saying that it will not change hearts.

So what can we do?  We can pray.  We can fast and pray. We can pray authoritatively.  We can pray in the Spirit.  We can call upon almighty God in the name of Jesus.  We can intercede.  We can repent. We can in prayer see what others can’t and believe what others don’t.  We in the Spirit can battle the unseen so that the seen changes.  We can pray together. We can believe together.  We can call upon the authority of the resurrected Savior.

Some are thinking we need to do more than just pray and I agree.  After praying and seeking God and crying out to Him and interceding and believing we should do it again and again and again and… Yes there are houses to be built, and bellies to feed, and minds to educate, and children to care for, clinics to be built, and jobs to be created but they never, never, never, should take the place of the unseen work which must come first if hearts, if the seen is to change.

John McHoul

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Comments
  1. Troy & Tara says:

    ke mwen lou … n’ap bezwen Jezi.

  2. Jim Johnston says:

    John,
    You don’t know me, but I am Tammy Johnston’s husband, who came to work alongside you last week from The Bridge Fellowship in Mount Juliet, Tenn.
    This is a great post with great truth. I can read in your words where your determination and sustenance comes from.
    I am hoping to come with Tammy at some point in the future and stay longer than a week to assist in your ministry.
    Thank you so much for your commitment to Jesus and your commitment to the people of Haiti.
    Jim Johnston

  3. Really appreciate this Pastor McHoul. Praying in thankfulness for you and Beth.

  4. Terri Urban says:

    Excellent, excellent insights. And scriptures to memorize, to paste on your wall and inscribe on your heart.

    Terri U. in Colorado Springs

  5. Mickey Salamt says:

    John:
    Mickey Salvant here. Thank you for putting into words the frustration that I have been feeling. Why can’t we move from just surviving into thriving or from just enduring to prospering. It’s not a lack of the material things it’s a spiritual thing. Much the same way God works with me. ” I have set before you all that  you need so why do you keep doing the same wrong things again and again?”
    All this and I only come there every quarter. 
    Would love to visit your church on my next trip in. God seems to take me to school on every trip to Haiti. 
    God bless you and may He continue to confirm the work of your hands. I pray the prayer (blessing)   of Aaron over you!’ 
    Mickey

  6. Ann Y Stokes says:

    Good word, John, and so true. It’s as it was in the very beginning in the Garden of Eden. God told Adam and Eve to “subdue”. What was there to subdue? Only the enemy and his lies.

    It’s still the same — the big difference is that we have the victorious power & love of Jesus Christ. May you continue to subdue the enemy going only into the battles the Lord leads you.

    At the same time, the Lord recognizes how discouraging and wearying the work is. May you all be filled with new courage at the dawn of every day.

    Ann

  7. AMEN!! Sounds a lot like Jamaica – only worse. You bless many that you don’t even know with your words of encouragment and challenge to prayer! Blessings to all of you at Heartline.

  8. I enjoy continuing to learn from you my friend. Keep on fighting….both on your knees and on your fight. Can’t thank you enough for your generosity and love for our Lifetree Adventures teams the last few weeks. God bless you:)

  9. Tammy says:

    Thank you for that post. It encourages me to pray more. And to “overcome evil with good” and to “not get weary of doing good”.

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